My most recent acquisition is a well-traveled ex-Czechoslovak Mauser with an interesting history. This is a Vz.98, a post-WW1 Czech copy of the German Gewehr 98, and made from Gew.98 parts on Gew.98 tooling to boot! In 1920 Germany had been forbidden from large-scale armaments production by the Treaty of Versailles, and the Gew.98 production line at Waffenfabrik Mauser sat idle. Meanwhile, the new Czechoslovak government wanted to outfit their army with a standard service rifle, and after considering the Mannlicher M1895 (of which they had hundreds of thousands and the tooling to produce more) they instead chose the Mauser 98. The Czech government then acquired about 130,000 ex-German Gew.98 rifles from France and The Netherlands, and also received about 5,000 Steyr M1914 (ex-Mexican M1912) Mauser rifles from Austria-Hungary. Furthermore, they purchased the Gew.98 production tooling from Waffefabrik Mauser in Oberndorf along with all existing stocks of parts, complete or not. The tooling was set up at an artillery arsenal in the city of Brno. The first 10,000 rifles to come off that production line were called "Vz.98" and were almost exact clones of the Gew.98, and most of their parts had been finished in Germany but not yet assembled into rifles. After this initial production, it was decided to change the style of rear sight and handguard to that of the Steyr M1912 "Mexican" model's Mauser-patent tangent-leaf sight and longer handguard. This model was called "Vz.98/22" to denote the change. Neither the Vz.98 or the Vz.98/22 lasted long in Czechoslovak service; they were quickly replaced by the shorter Vz.23 and Vz.24 rifles, and almost all were sold to the new Turkish Republic or to various Chinese clients. My example here went to Turkey, and came to the United States via Navy Arms.
This one is a real mix-master; only the barrel matches the receiver number. It has been fitted with a stock that was originally made for a Turkish M1903-type rifle; you can see the inlet for the longer receiver ring and the different styles of barrel band retention springs, as well as the channel for a full-length cleaning rod.
The stock was shortened and fitted with an M98-style bayonet lug, and Gew.98-style upper band spring. You can see the partially-plugged space for the M93-style upper band spring.
The cleaning rod nut was moved forward for the shorter 15" German-style cleaning rod.
It also has been fitted with a very crude bushing for the firing pin, with what looks like brass tubing pushed through the hole and peened over from each end.
It has a Gew.98 buttplate.
The un-marked handguard also appears custom-fitted for this rifle, perhaps cut down from a longer Turkish type.
Both stock and handguard appear to be made of beech, feel quite solid and are thicker than my actual Gew.98's stock. The finish has been completely worn through at the toe of the so I think it was last refinished while it was still in service.
It has the CZ crest on the receiver ring, and with no serial number prefix is consistent with the first 10,000 Vz.98 rifles. It has the early Czech "V." firing proof stamped upside-down on the barrel above the serial number.
There are Imperial German Fraktur acceptance proofs on the upper barrel band, bayonet lug, rear sight base/leaf/elevator/butons, sear, triggerguard/magazine box, rear action screw, magazine floorplate, recoil lug crossbolt and buttplate. There is also a single Fraktur letter without crown on the underside of the receiver.
The rear sight base has a different serial number on it than that of the receiver, but based on the format I think it's an old German one since the Czechs at the time did not use letter suffixes in serial numbers.
The lower barrel band and band spring appear to be original Turkish parts, as does the magazine follower. Can't tell about the ejector box. The bolt is an entirely Czech-made assembly with Turkish Crescent Moon on the cocking piece, shroud, firing pin, extractor collar and bolt handle ball, and has (matching) Arabic numerals on the cocking piece, bolt shroud and extractor collar. There appears to have been a serial number on the root of the bolt handle that was scrubbed off.
Unfortunately the barrel does have a fair amount of exterior pitting along the woodline of the stock and handguard, which I couldn't see without taking the rifle apart. Fortunately they do not seem especially deep; I used clay to make moldings of the worst pits and measured them, and none seemed deeper than 0.5mm. Also it appears that the last time the barrel was blued the pitting was already present and blued over; the pits are the same uniform grey as the rest of the barrel's surface. I think that's it's safe to shoot.
The bore has only very light, scattered pitting with strong lands and the muzzle looks good with a round of Yugo M49 ball in it.
It came with an un-marked SG.84/98 bayonet with a scabbard made by Dürkopp Werke Actiengesellschaft in 1936.
I paid $360 for the rifle and bayonet, and while I think with the pitting I'm not getting the deal I hoped I still think I did OK considering current prices.